For the second year in a row, Atwater and Lake Bluff Elementary Schools' 4th grade students (as well as some 3rd/4th grade multiage classrooms) participated in the hands-on learning program called A World in Motion (AWIM). AWIM is a teacher-administered, industry volunteer-assisted program that brings science, technology, engineering and math education to life in the classroom for students with project-based learning activities. The program is co-sponsored by Johnson Controls and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and Johnson Controls volunteers partnered with 4th grade teachers at Lake Bluff and Atwater to help students with the activities.
The learning experience focused on the designing and building of a Jet Toy Car—a balloon-powered vehicle made from basic materials, including rubber bands, straws, vinyl tubing, push-up sticks and platforms. All of the costs of the materials were covered by Johnson Controls and SAE. In preparation for the experience, Atwater and Lake Bluff teachers wove science concepts into the learning experience, as students learned about motion, friction, and energy, answering the question: "How does form affect function?"
In each classroom, led by teachers Mike Hamann (ATW), Mike Roberts (LB), Rich Rosen (LB), and Deb Sakai (ATW), students were broken up into small teams to design and build their cars. Throughout the process, the students worked on optimizing the car for speed and maneuverability, and Johnson Controls representatives stopped by the classrooms often to mentor the kids and answer questions regarding engineering in general.
At the end of the unit, the students all participated in a Grand Finale competition day together, where the cars were evaluated based upon two criteria: distance and speed. To judge distance, tape grids were laid out across the floor and 3-4 groups at a time were asked to blow up the balloons (which served as the car's engine) and release the nozzle of the balloons at the same time. Once the cars stopped or exited their 3-meter wide lane, measurements were recorded. Each team was allowed three trials.
Regarding speed, students followed the same process but the goal was for the JetToy to get the fastest time passing the 3-meter mark (from nozzle release to the car passing the 3 meter mark). Judges used stopwatches for measuring each group's speed. Again, an average of the three trials was taken and recorded.
Following the finale, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners for speed and distance at both schools were announced.
With the help of Johnson Controls and Shorewood Chief Advancement Officer Ted Knight, the top winners from each school were then asked to compete—along with other participating schools that Johnson Controls works with—in the first annual AWIM Regional Competition event. The event took place Saturday, April 8, in the Shorewood High School Arena and participants from Lake Bluff, Atwater, and Kluge Elementary attended. The students had a great time and following the competition, Johnson Controls reps handed out medals for top speed and distance.
AWIM Shorewood Regional Competition Teams & Results:
Lake Bluff Elementary
Weather Storm: Margot Mohson, Griffin Dworschack-Kinter
Dragon Bolt: Kennedy Merkel, Marshall Knox, Louisa Holmes (2nd place – speed)
The MEEs: Marta Rubinis, Erik Neilson, Enzo Quadracci (1st place – speed)
Packer Fame: Jack Lindemann, Superior Hill, Luke Marta (3rd place – speed)
E.O.A.-Explosion of Awesomeness: Amelia Kohler, Gauri Laroyia, Meera Antigua
Toy Makers: Will Baumann
The Winged Cheetahs: Daphne Hammerlund, Petra Johnson, Aiko Levick, and Eliza Talley
The Hot Heads: Matthew Aldana, Megh Chatterjee and Franklin Hellmann
Racing T-Rexes: Chloe Pritchett, Michael Richardson and Casey Roth
The Elderly Zombies: Henry Christiansen, Owen Dardis and Tristan Papara (1st place – distance)
Derp Crab: Nathan Sibila, Nathaniel Stepanski and Elliot Stoner-Gold
I Am A Nub: Ryan Lien, Forrest Moreno and Lochlan Steele
View photos from the AWIM competitions here.